Bruce Cockburn – Rio Theatre – Santa Cruz

We made the trek down to Santa Cruz to see Bruce on Friday July 12 at the Rio Theatre. It’s a good 7 hour drive from here without stops.. good thing we went a day early so we had some energy recovery time!

We cruised by the Rio on Friday afternoon to check it out.

Rio Theatre

I was hoping to catch sound check, but that didn’t happen. I did talk to Russ Cole, who did sound for Bruce, who said he did a very long sound check.

It was a sunny bright day in Santa Cruz and I was very excited to see Bruce as it has been 14 months since the last time at the Van Duzer Theater.

Look How Far:

We were told by someone inside to come back at 6pm for will call, so of course we got there even earlier to find out that Will Call wasn’t until 7pm! So there was one line for General Admission and one line for Gold Circle (first 15 rows) and most everyone in those lines had to also get in the will call line to get the actual tickets.. quite a little tense fiasco by the time the doors got open. But I love talking to fans in line, meeting new people, re-meeting others from meets at other shows, and of course connecting with good friends, like Riley and Kathy (who we first met at the Arcata Theater Lounge show. And Paul from the 2002 Kate Wolf Festival.

There were a few surprises in the setlist this time around,
and Russel snagged the original and had Bruce sign it after the show.

Grim Travellers and Understanding Nothing I have not heard live in a very long time, and it was good to hear.

Understanding Nothing:


There is always so much energy at these shows, the banter back and forth with the crowd.. the calling of songs to be played, often with Bruce commenting on them. Someone asked for Tropic Moon, he said, “that’s a good song and I don’t think I have ever had anyone ask for it” (paraphrased). Someone also asked for Lord of the Starfields, which I believe he said ‘was a great song and very close to his heart, but now he was not going to play that one now’.

Here is something that he did play though: When You Give It Away

direct link


Bruce also did a meet and greet and signage after the show. The line was long and Bruce was visibly tired, but he graciously signed and spoke with his adoring fans.

Once again I had the photo from the last time we met and he signed it for me. We chatted for a couple of seconds, he said he had thought he would see me at the Grass Valley show, and I said I had planned to go there, but when the chance of guaranteed close to the stage seating was offered with the Rio show, how could I refuse? He said, “I hear you on that” and we laughed.. older bodies, ya know??

I knew he was driving back to San Fransisco that evening and leaving the next day for Grass Valley for his WorldFest gig on Sunday the 14th at around 6pm.. (3 hours from now as I write this wishing I could be there as well), so I threw him a heart kiss and we left.


I didn’t get a photo of us taken this time, so I guess the run of signing photos from past shows is over, but it was a good run. One day I will gather them all and make another blog post about that.


Anything can happen
To put out the light,
Is it any wonder
I don’t want to say goodnight?

I also did a show report for the CockburnProject that includes the setlist and has even more photos and videos. (scroll down)

All the photos of Bruce on this page are by Riley Quarles.
All the videos are also from Riley – go visit his YouTube page. Thanks Riley!!


2 thoughts on “Bruce Cockburn – Rio Theatre – Santa Cruz

  1. Phil Swanson

    Been a Bruce fan for a long, long time. Seen him many times, but saw him on his opening night of his current solo tour back in February in Princeton, NJ. He was fabulous as usual, and also had a meet & greet after the show which was the first time I saw him do this. Got to meet him for the first time, great experience.
    Loved your review of the show above with pix & video. Nice job.

    Phil Swanson

  2. Peter

    I have been a fan of Bruce since the 80s, but have only seen him live once (the Ontario Place Forum, circa 1989.) I’m going to see him with my girlfriend on February 15 in Brantford, Ontario. He is far and away my favorite artist, and I’m super stoked (and for some reason a little nervous) to see him live. After reading your blog, I’m inspired to bring a CD (Humans is my favorite) and camera in case he signs autographs. Thanks!


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